Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the Midst of Trying Times...

We all go through rough patches right? When we just don't feel like trying anymore and we just can't make anyone happy? When we question whether we really can do anything right?

It seems this year that the holidays are really hitting some people especially hard and making them especially grumpy and sometimes just mean. (At least, I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and giving them the holiday excuse.) All of this negativity, hardly well deserved, has about put me over the edge this December. I'm kind of getting tired of putting on a happy face and playing the Stupid and Cheerful card. Trying to be the "bigger person," act like a polite adult and not throwing a fit like a two year old is kind of starting to wear me out.

I think the negativity and anger are particularly hard for me to take during this season of Christmas in which we're supposed to remember the gift that Jesus gave us and love one another and all of that other good stuff. I just want the Norman Rockwell Christmas Card picture of snuggling with the kids reading a book in front of the tree with the fire roaring and Christmas Carols playing on the record player.

All that being said, I definitely needed an attitude adjustment today. So, I picked up a book that had been sitting gathering dust on the bookshelf forever.

The Bounce Back Book - Karen Salmansohn

It's a super quick read - I finished it while drinking coffee and watching cartoons with Jack.  I do think it's probably geared more toward people struggling with more than grumpy people, but I found it has some wonderfully profound nuggets of goodness for all of us.

It's changed my attitude this morning and I thought I should probably share it since it's likely more people than just me need an attitude adjustment.

People aren't evil they're weak.  
Who you truly are as a person is best revealed by who you are in times of conflict and crisis.  
You're either growing into a bigger, better person or shrinking into a lowly, bitter person.  
When you're tempted to indulge in a negative, regressive behavior, swap it for one that will move you FORWARD. 
Pessimists, who generally don't bounce back easily from bad times, see setbacks as permanent, pervasive and personal. - Dr. Martin Seligman  
Optimistic people tell themselves that setbacks are temporary, confined to that one situation and are usually about the other person, not a character defect in themselves.  - Dr. Martin Seligman 
Swap feeling like you're wearing a KICK ME sign to feeling like you're wearing a KICK ASS sign! 
If you are falling, dive! - Joseph Campbell 
In Buddhism, huge difficulties are thought to be a compliment - a sign you're an old soul being tested to see if you're ready to rise to the next level of enlightenment. View bad events as a test of your character. Now ask yourself... What the heck are you being tested for? Patience? Compassion? Improved communication? Resilience? Forgiveness? Open mindedness? {Side Note: I can easily relate this to my Christian faith as well. What "fruit of the spirit" is God challenging me to work harder on today? Kindness? Gentleness? Self-Control? Patience?} 

Forgiveness therapy - This is an interesting one. When a group of adults struggling with substance abuse were divided into two groups - one with traditional substance abuse therapy and one with forgiveness therapy - the ones with the forgiveness therapy had a higher success rate. {I can also relate this one back to the Christian faith. Doesn't this look a lot like Jesus on the cross?}1. Recall the hurt
2. Empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrators perspective
3. Be altruistic by recalling a time you were forgiven
4. Put your forgiveness into words in a letter that is sent or never sent
5. Don't dwell

After starting and finishing this book, I've readjusted my attitude and will work hard today and the rest of the season to be the optimist and see the best in people and in myself. Control the things I can control, treat others as I want to be treated, etc. etc.

There. I feel better now. Thanks for indulging me this morning.

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